We collected information on demographic characteristics, exposure history, and illness timelines of laboratory-confirmed cases of NCIP that had been reported by January 22, 2020. We described characteristics of the cases and estimated the key epidemiologic time-delay distributions. In the early period of exponential growth, we estimated the epidemic doubling time and the basic reproductive number. RESULTSAmong the first 425 patients with confirmed NCIP, the median age was 59 years and 56% were male. The majority of cases (55%) with onset before January 1, 2020, were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, as compared with 8.6% of the subsequent cases. The mean incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1 to 7.0), with the 95th percentile of the distribution at 12.5 days. In its early stages, the epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days. With a mean serial interval of 7.5 days (95% CI, 5.3 to 19), the basic reproductive number was estimated to be 2.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.9). CONCLUSIONSOn the basis of this information, there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019. Considerable efforts to reduce transmission will be required to control outbreaks if similar dynamics apply elsewhere. Measures to prevent or reduce transmission should be implemented in populations at risk. (Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and others.) a bs tr ac t Early Transmission Dynamics
Intestinal microbes provide multicellular hosts with nutrients and confer resistance to infection. The delicate balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mechanisms, essential for gut immune homeostasis, is affected by the composition of the commensal microbial community. Regulatory T (Treg) cells expressing transcription factor Foxp3 play a key role in limiting inflammatory responses in the intestine1. Although specific members of the commensal microbial community have been found to potentiate the generation of anti-inflammatory Treg or pro-inflammatory Th17 cells2-6, the molecular cues driving this process remain elusive. Considering the vital metabolic function afforded by commensal microorganisms, we hypothesized that their metabolic by-products are sensed by cells of the immune system and affect the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cells. We found that a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), butyrate, produced by commensal microorganisms during starch fermentation, facilitated extrathymic generation of Treg cells. A boost in Treg cell numbers upon provision of butyrate was due to potentiation of extrathymic differentiation of Treg cells as the observed phenomenon was dependent upon intronic enhancer CNS1, essential for extrathymic, but dispensable for thymic Treg cell differentiation1, 7. In addition to butyrate, de novo Treg cell generation in the periphery was potentiated by propionate, another SCFA of microbial origin capable of HDAC inhibition, but not acetate, lacking this activity. Our results suggest that bacterial metabolites mediate communication between the commensal microbiota and the immune system, affecting the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
The human body is composed of diverse cell types with distinct functions. While it is known that lineage specification depends on cell specific gene expression, which in turn is driven by promoters, enhancers, insulators and other cis-regulatory DNA sequences for each gene1–3, the relative roles of these regulatory elements in this process is not clear. We have previously developed a chromatin immunoprecipitation-based microarray method (ChIP-chip) to locate promoters, enhancers, and insulators in the human genome4–6. Here, we use the same approach to identify these elements in multiple cell types and investigated their roles in cell type-specific gene expression. We observed that chromatin state at promoters and CTCF-binding at insulators are largely invariant across diverse cell types. By contrast, enhancers are marked with highly cell type-specific histone modification patterns, strongly correlate to cell type-specific gene expression programs on a global scale, and are functionally active in a cell type-specific manner. Our results defined over 55,000 potential transcriptional enhancers in the human genome, significantly expanding the current catalog of human enhancers and highlighting the role of these elements in cell type-specific gene expression.
Interindividual clinical variability in the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection is immense. We report that at least 101 of 987 patients with life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia had neutralizing IgG auto-Abs against IFN-ω (13 patients), the 13 types of IFN-α (36), or both (52), at the onset of critical disease; a few also had auto-Abs against the other three type I IFNs. The auto-Abs neutralize the ability of the corresponding type I IFNs to block SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. These auto-Abs were not found in 663 individuals with asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and were present in only 4 of 1,227 healthy individuals. Patients with auto-Abs were aged 25 to 87 years and 95 were men. A B cell auto-immune phenocopy of inborn errors of type I IFN immunity underlies life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia in at least 2.6% of women and 12.5% of men.
The gastrointestinal tracts of mammals are colonized by hundreds of microbial species that contribute to health, including colonization resistance against intestinal pathogens1. Many antibiotics destroy intestinal microbial communities and increase susceptibility to intestinal pathogens2. Among these, Clostridium difficile, a major cause of antibiotic-induced diarrhea, greatly increases morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients3. Which intestinal bacteria provide resistance to C. difficile infection and their in vivo inhibitory mechanisms remain unclear. By treating mice with different antibiotics that result in distinct microbiota changes and lead to varied susceptibility to C. difficile, we correlated loss of specific bacterial taxa with development of infection. Mathematical modeling augmented by microbiota analyses of hospitalized patients identified resistance-associated bacteria common to mice and humans. Using these platforms, we determined that Clostridium scindens, a bile acid 7-dehydroxylating intestinal bacterium, is associated with resistance to C. difficile infection and, upon administration, enhances resistance to infection in a secondary bile acid-dependent fashion. Using a workflow involving mouse models, clinical studies, metagenomic analyses and mathematical modeling, we identified a probiotic candidate that corrects a clinically relevant microbiome deficiency. These findings have implications for rational design of targeted antimicrobials as well as microbiome-based diagnostics and therapeutics for individuals at risk for C. difficile infection.
Barley remains dated to the dawn of agriculture have been found at several archaeological sites 1,2 . In addition to indications that barley was an important food crop, recent excavations have fuelled speculation that beverages from fermented grains may have motivated early Neolithic hunter-gatherers to erect some of humankind's oldest monuments 3,4 . Moreover, brewing beer may also have played a role in the eastward spread of the crop after its initial domestication in the Fertile Crescent 5,6 . Since 2012, both genetic research and crop improvement in barley have benefited from a partly ordered draft sequence assembly 7 . This community resource has underpinned gene isolation 8,9 and population genomic studies 10 . However, these and other efforts have also revealed limitations of the current draft assembly. The limitations are often direct consequences of two characteristic genomic features: the extreme abundance of repetitive elements, and the severely reduced frequency of meiotic recombination in pericentromeric regions 11 .These factors have limited the contiguity of whole-genome assemblies to kilobase-sized sequences originating from low-copy regions of the genome. Thus, a detailed investigation of the composition of the repetitive fraction of the genome-including expanded gene families-and of the distribution of targets of selection and crop improvement in (genetically defined) pericentromeric regions has been beyond reach.Here we present a map-based reference sequence of the barley genome including the first comprehensively ordered assembly of the pericentromeric regions of a Triticeae genome. The resource highlights a conspicuous distinction between distal and proximal regions of chromosomes that is reflected by the intranuclear chromatin organization. Moreover, chromosomal compartments are differentiated by an exponential gradient of gene density and recombination rate, striking contrasts in the distribution of retrotransposon families, and distinct patterns of genetic diversity.Cereal grasses of the Triticeae tribe have been the major food source in temperate regions since the dawn of agriculture. Their large genomes are characterized by a high content of repetitive elements and large pericentromeric regions that are virtually devoid of meiotic recombination. Here we present a high-quality reference genome assembly for barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). We use chromosome conformation capture mapping to derive the linear order of sequences across the pericentromeric space and to investigate the spatial organization of chromatin in the nucleus at megabase resolution. The composition of genes and repetitive elements differs between distal and proximal regions. Gene family analyses reveal lineage-specific duplications of genes involved in the transport of nutrients to developing seeds and the mobilization of carbohydrates in grains. We demonstrate the importance of the barley reference sequence for breeding by inspecting the genomic partitioning of sequence variation in modern elite germplasm, highlightin...
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex meshwork of cross-linked proteins providing both biophysical and biochemical cues that are important regulators of cell proliferation, survival, differentiation, and migration. We present here a proteomic strategy developed to characterize the in vivo ECM composition of normal tissues and tumors using enrichment of protein extracts for ECM components and subsequent analysis by mass spectrometry. In parallel, we have developed a bioinformatic approach to predict the in silico “matrisome” defined as the ensemble of ECM proteins and associated factors. We report the characterization of the extracellular matrices of murine lung and colon, each comprising more than 100 ECM proteins and each presenting a characteristic signature. Moreover, using human tumor xenografts in mice, we show that both tumor cells and stromal cells contribute to the production of the tumor matrix and that tumors of differing metastatic potential differ in both the tumor- and the stroma-derived ECM components. The strategy we describe and illustrate here can be broadly applied and, to facilitate application of these methods by others, we provide resources including laboratory protocols, inventories of ECM domains and proteins, and instructions for bioinformatically deriving the human and mouse matrisome.
Large-scale genotyping plays an important role in genetic association studies. It has provided new opportunities for gene discovery, especially when combined with high-throughput sequencing technologies. Here, we report an efficient solution for large-scale genotyping. We call it specific-locus amplified fragment sequencing (SLAF-seq). SLAF-seq technology has several distinguishing characteristics: i) deep sequencing to ensure genotyping accuracy; ii) reduced representation strategy to reduce sequencing costs; iii) pre-designed reduced representation scheme to optimize marker efficiency; and iv) double barcode system for large populations. In this study, we tested the efficiency of SLAF-seq on rice and soybean data. Both sets of results showed strong consistency between predicted and practical SLAFs and considerable genotyping accuracy. We also report the highest density genetic map yet created for any organism without a reference genome sequence, common carp in this case, using SLAF-seq data. We detected 50,530 high-quality SLAFs with 13,291 SNPs genotyped in 211 individual carp. The genetic map contained 5,885 markers with 0.68 cM intervals on average. A comparative genomics study between common carp genetic map and zebrafish genome sequence map showed high-quality SLAF-seq genotyping results. SLAF-seq provides a high-resolution strategy for large-scale genotyping and can be generally applicable to various species and populations.
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